As part of celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Fleurier manufacture, Chopard decided to surprise us with two new COSC-certified travel companions in the L.U.C line, the Chopard L.U.C TIME TRAVELER ONE and the GMT One. This collection is named in tribute to Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the company’s founder, and reserved for pieces entirely designed and manufactured in-house. We had the opportunity to see them in the metal last week and have tons of live pictures and our first impressions of both models. Spoiler alert: We were mightily impressed.
Chopard’s first worldtimer is, in fact, a true worldtimer. This might sound like a tautology, but it’s anything but. A lot of so-called worldtimers are actually just GMT watches or watches with some sort of additional timezone display. The Chopard L.U.C TIME TRAVELER ONE , however, shows the time in all 24 timezones at once, thanks to a rotating 24-hour ring (there are actually 37 timezones in total, with a few 30 and 15 minute zones, but unless you have a new Overseas World Time you’ll have to make do with a more typical 24-hour ring). What makes Chopard’s model stand out is the case it comes in. It’s a Super Compressor style case with the signature dual crowns, a design typically associated with – but not limited to – dive watches from the 1950s through 1970s. A few worldtimers have used dual crowns in the past, since both divers and worldtimers can take advantage of a rotating internal bezel. Local time and date are set using the L.U.C-signed crown at two o’clock, while the city disc is operated by the globe-adorned crown at four o’clock. The different signatures ensure that you won’t mix the two up when you’re trying to adjust on the go.
The watches Chopard L.U.C TIME TRAVELER ONE is also reasonably sized. It measures 42mm across and is 12.1mm thick, with sapphire crystals front and back. Water resistance is 50m, which is when you realize the case is not actually a Super Compressor (the term is trademarked, and identifies a special class of diving case made by Ervin Piquerez S.A. and rated to a depth of 600 ft). The watches could have been a little smaller – the movement, visible in full through the back, is approximately 35mm across – but Chopard decided to make a larger dial in order to ensure its legibility. Worldtimers can be notoriously difficult to read, and here this feels like a wise choice. The watch is powered by caliber 01.05-L, a self-winding movement with a 60-hour power reserve. It’s well decorated, with chamfered bridges and Côtes de Genève throughout. Within the new Time Traveler One family, I would argue the stainless steel option is the most attractive, and also the most legible of the three because of the orange accents on the arrow hand and hour markers. The platinum model is a strong proposition for larger budgets, with a beautiful grey and blue dial that’s extremely elegant, if a little harder to read.
Chopard also unveiled a fully integrated GMT, in a timepiece styled similarly to the stainless steel Travel Time One. The case of the GMT One is almost identical to the worldtimer’s – it’s only slightly thinner, by one millimeter – and that isn’t enough to make a noticeable difference on the wrist. You’ve still got the two crowns as well. However, compared to its big brother, the dial is a lot cleaner, with the simple date window at six o’clock subbing in for the 24-hour timezone display. Perhaps the hour and minute hands would have benefited from a small extension to reflect this change of design, but overall there’s little to complain about in terms of legibility and execution. Local time is again set by the upper crown, while the lower crown controls the GMT hand used to display the second timezone. To clearly distinguish between day and night, the GMT One uses white and orange Arabic numerals respectively, again betting on the design’s vintage appeal. Powering the watch is the manufacture-made caliber L.U.C 01.10-L, a self-winding, chronometer-certified movement, that offers a 60-hour power reserve.
Chopard L.U.C TIME TRAVELER ONE produces only 4,500 L.U.C timepieces a year, and they’re some of the most underrated watches made today (check out our visit to the manufacture here). All are handsomely-made and feature in-house calibers with high chronometric and finishing standards. The introduction of a new GMT and a new worldtimer should help propel the company forward and hopefully invite a new group of collectors to give the manufacture a try.